Shin Bone: I have painful cramp feelings down my front shin bones, what can I do?

The first thing you should do if you frequently experience cramps is ensure that you are drinking plenty of water, especially if you regularly work out or exert your legs in any other way. Dehydration is quite a common cause of cramps among athletes and other physically active people. A lack of salt in the body could also cause cramps, and an easy way to counter this is to drink a saline solution, either a commercially available product or a home made mixture of salt, sugar, and water. Another common cause of cramps is mineral deficiencies, particularly in calcium and potassium. You should therefore check your diet for any possible deficiencies. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, but if you do not consume dairy for any reason, you can get your calcium from oranges and most beans and nuts. Oranges also provide potassium, but bananas are among the best sources of this mineral. Other good sources of potassium are tomatoes, potatoes, and soy.

You should consider the possibility that you are straining your muscles too much, especially if you engage in strenuous workouts. On the other hand, you may also just not be warming up and stretching your muscles enough before your workouts. Exerting your muscles while they are cold and stiff can result in cramps or worse. Ensure that you spend at least 10 minutes on stretching and warm up exercises at the start of every workout.

Whenever you do develop cramps, there are simple ways in which you can tackle the problem. In most cases, you should gently exert the affected muscles instead of resting them. It may be a natural response to avoid using the affected limb, but this will only prolong the cramps. Slight stretching and pressure on the muscles often relieves the cramps in a short time. In addition, a gentle massage applied to the affected muscles will provide some relief. A warm compress will also help - a hot water bottle is the best way to do this. Ensure that you do not apply too much heat for too long, or you will end up worsening the cramps. Some people find that a cold compress also helps, or else alternating between a hot and cold compress. In some cases however, cold temperatures may be part of the reason for the cramps, and a cold compress may make them worse.

If you continue to experience cramps regularly and none of these suggestions work, you must consult a doctor as there may be some more serious underlying problem.

answered by G R

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